My 2-year-old son has crazy amounts of energy. We recently spent time together at a local indoor play centre. No matter how hard I tried to watch him, he became invisible among the other children. Wanting him to stand out from all the other kids playing became a frustration for me. The enjoyment of watching him play was lost in the frustration of not seeing him stand out.
Do you feel the same frustration when your business gets lost among the noise and blur of everything around it? If you do, let me share my experience and understanding of design, business and community. In under sixty minutes, I can start you on your journey towards an original, authentic and engaging personal brand.
Every day we meet and work with new, existing and past clients working our way through a transaction that leaves our customer with an impression or experience. This experience is now becoming the buzz word and critical focus for many major corporates and multi-nationals alike. The reason for this is the customer experience will often determine whether the customer becomes loyal and engaged with your brand. If your client is not loyal and engaged, this will reduce business enterprise value.
Recently working with a particular client, we have been analyising their customer experience and analyising it to determine its effectiveness. One of the best ways of creating support information was actually interviewing clients that had transacted with the company to get an understanding of the experience the customer received and how they felt about it. This research showed what the business thought was of value, the client didn’t actually recognize and the items the customer needed were often overlooked.
Concept for this month
The first step of this process is to define your current customer experience and determine what are the steps that you need to create an ‘above expectation’ outcome. A good example of this is to send a gift (box of chocolates) to the customer. After your first enquiry or fact find appointment saying “thank you for your enquiry” or “new order”. Once you have done this, I recommend talking to past clients using an independent person to collect some customer experience feedback. This will enable you to ensure your service value proposition is meeting and ultimately exceeding your customer’s expectations.
Analyze your customer experience and develop a strategy to exceed your client’s real expectations.
Another successful AREC (Australian Real Estate Conference) was held last week on the Gold Coast and over 3000 Real Estate agents descended upon Broadbeach eager to hear from a myriad of speakers on how to improve their game, stand out from the crowd, grow their business and evolve with the times. Whilst there was a lot of information to take in, the message on how to be successful was clear;BE THE TRUSTED ADVISOR – know your market, be professional and focus on your clients to create trust and credibility. STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD – your marketing, image, brand and service delivery matters now, more than ever and EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY – are you progressing or preventing?
The Real Estate industry is changing and rather than fight the change, it’s time to embrace it! With the help of my team of consultants who are experts in their chosen fields, we have the skill and knowledge to arm you with the tools needed to become a powerful industry force. Stop struggling – reach out to those who can help you stand out from the crowd, create and implement systems to boost your business, generate business growth and gain the success you deserve.
One of the main reasons for failure of small business is not understanding your customer. Identifying ‘target markets’ is therefore not just an exercise in segmenting customers by age or income, what is needed, is a deeper understanding of what drives your target customer’s decisions.
For example in Real Estate, the key question when trying to understand your customer is “why”.When they explain they are interested in a 3-bedroom home in a certain area, you need to understand why. For an empty nester, a spare room may be needed for visiting family, while for first home buyers they may be looking for a room to rent out to generate income.
Understanding someone’s stated ‘position’ is easy, but to be effective you need to understand their ‘interests’ – the why. Moving from positions to interests is the first rule of negotiation, so whether it’s your vendor or a buyer, make sure you invest the time to find out what drives their decisions. This understanding of your customer not only avoids making dangerous assumptions, but can also lead to creative solutions, and delighted and loyal customers.
Contact David on 0800 800 303 to chat more.
Who are your clients? What are they concerned about? Why do they buy from you?
Say hello to Mr Potato Head, he is 52 years old, married, lives in West Auckland and has a cat called Zeus. Mr Head is a CEO of a medium-sized business, loves fishing at the weekend and only goes on social media to check up on his kids.
My question for you, does Mr Potato Head sound familiar? Is he one of your clients?
Can you describe your key clients in a few sentences?
You may have clients from different generations, from different walks of life. They are all at different stages of life too and your brand needs to have a clear message to each of them. Each of your target markets will understand influence in a different way, their core values, attributes and how they deal with money, are also individual for each generation.
Knowing who your customers are and how to help them connect with your business, is key and makes it easier to promote whatever you’re doing and bring them along on your brand’s journey. While we know you’d love to buy a coffee with ALL of them, another way to get to know who they are is to create Buyer Personas. The buyer persona concept will provide you with a handy template around the how, what and why to create your own individual fictional client. You can have as many as two or twenty depending on how many demographics you’re targeting in your business.
Contact Tom on 0800 800 303 to chat more about how to set up your buyer personas.
Over the last 1½ years, as I have continued to build the darrenpratley.com speaking business, I have been consistently seeing self-employed business owners or team members that are needing support or help in developing their business. As there are many areas of business that I don’t work in, I thought it was important for me to have some very strong solutions that could assist them in developing their business in areas where I don’t necessarily work. From this, we developed the concept of INK Consulting Associates where we have brought together a range of high performing consultants and topic experts that can help support our clients in improving their business and developing growth. We can see from many of our discussions with our clients that growth of their business becomes a very important part of what they do as their success improves. With the success, growth is a key focus and that is why we are really focusing on becoming the growth agency for self-employed business owners and their businesses. Over the coming months, we are looking to add high performing consultants on our team and ensure they are able to provide us with expert and industry leading information to assist our clients.
Google search your industry, your known competitors and related industry participants and print all relevant content that you can find to build a collection of your industry competitors. Now analyze it.
2. Mystery shop
Get someone that you trust to mystery shop your competitors checking:
(a) customer connection;
(b) needs identification;
(c) solution development;
(d) pricing, terms and conditions;
(e) closing the sale;
(f) ongoing relationship definition.
3. Direct analysis and comparison
Review the above mystery shop items to identify what your competitors are doing in regards to service, product offering and client retention ability. Compare to your own service proposition. Have you ever had someone mystery shop your business?
4. External assessor
Use an external party to complete a service assessment on your business. Having someone who knows about how far industry service propositions have developed and assess your business against this criteria will give you a great idea on how to move your business closer to your customer.
5. International benchmarking
It is always important to look at what the leaders in your industry are doing. Don’t be limited by your geographic boarder in regards to development of your service. International markets can help you grow your service proposition.
In sales, because of the further development of electronic communication tools such as text messaging, emails and Facebook, many people have moved away from the tried and tested and proven communication tool, the telephone.
The use of the telephone and creating a call to a prospect or an opportunity allows you to create a personal connection with that client that no electronic means will provide.
We know that if we can make personal contact with a potential or opportunity, the ability for us to listen to the client’s situation, understand their needs and then propose some potential solutions, helps them feel that we care and that there is a person involved in the transaction.
Because of many salespeoples’ reliance on electronic mediums there is also a reluctance to call.
This reluctance or fear of calling is a key factor in most salespeople’s inability to make the required number of calls per day.
We have to investigate why these fears or this nervousness is happening and create clear solutions to enable these calls to be made.
Once the initial fears are overcome and confidence builds, creating more and more calls to prospects becomes easy.
These new prospects are either added to your database as future opportunities or appointments are secured from that initial information and discussion.
It is simple and clear that you just have to make your calls. Putting a simple call script in place to give you some key pointers for discussing your client’s true wants and needs will help you create solutions that enable the transaction to happen.
Having worked with hundreds of self-employed business owners, I constantly see a simple mistake that literally costs business owners tens of thousands of dollars.
In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, the ability to attract customers can be more challenging and with the speed of losing customers ever increasing, we should reassess the adage that it is cheaper to keep a past or existing customer than it is to chase a new one.
Recently, I was working with a client who has built a very successful business over 14 years and was commenting about how his energy for chasing new clients and opportunities was beginning to challenge his passion and drive for new business. On asking about his past clients, he provided a very noncommittal response.
I then asked, “When was the last time that you talked to your past clients?” The blood drained from his face and he looked at the floor.
From that response, I knew the answer.
Today in business, it is very easy for us to do the deal and move onto the next one, continually spending our time chasing new business and opportunities. But it is also so easy for us to forget the deals we have done for clients where we have impressed them, but through lack of communication we have let them slip away, allowing them to be picked up by a competitor.
My challenge to you is simple. This month, create a campaign that specifically targets your past clients.
Yes, you will feel uncomfortable, but you need to do it anyway. The simple introduction of, “Hi it’s Darren here, I’ve been updating my database and noticed we haven’t talked for such a long time I thought I would give you a call to say hi.”
This simple statement will give you feedback from your client that at least lets you know how to move forward.
Please feel the fear and make the call anyway as it will be a great chance for you to begin new relationships with your past clients. Plus, I know this really works.